There’s a TENTH Amendment?

Who knew?

I mean we hear all about the freedom of expression granted in the first, and the second amendment right to keep and bear arms touted by the gun owners who want shoot the previous group. But the tenth? It is kind of boring:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Yuk. Nothing to see here. Like watching—no listening to paint dry. No mention of the lying media or gun show checks or the need for assault rifles among squirrel hunters. Just something about the power of the states.

But it does mean something if you’re an immigrant without papers trying to make a better life for yourself in a sanctuary city. It means you can probably continue your struggle because, just as the boring amendment says, if the federal government didn’t say you can’t, and the state has no law against it, then a sanctuary city is a state’s right.

And even though minority “president” Trump has waved his fist and threatened economic disaster to these cities, a 2012 Supreme Court decision stated that Congress is not permitted to set conditions on spending to coerce states or localities to participate in a federal program against their will. Even the punitive measures, beyond money, are meager.

And, maybe because other politicians have learned from Trump, the cities themselves have doubled down.

From San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee: “We will not give in to threats, or political grandstanding. Together, the Bay Area will stay true to our values of inclusiveness, compassion and equality, and united against any and all efforts to divide our residents, our cities, and our country.”

From Bill DeBlasio of New York: “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status.”

From New Haven’s Toni Harp: [We] will continue to embrace residents arriving from wherever they used to live, will work to make them feel welcome and safe, and will act to protect [our] ability to do so,“ adding “this nation has been a beacon to those who flee oppression and persecution—who seek freedom and opportunity instead; this rash act by a new President seems completely contrary to that ideal.”

From Boston’s Martin J. Walsh: “To anyone who feels threatened today, or vulnerable, you are safe in Boston. We will do everything lawful in our powerful to protect you. If necessary, we will use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who’s targeted unjustly.” Just down the road Somerville (MA) Mayor Joseph Curtatone said that, funding or not, his sanctuary city “will not waver,” a stand endorsed by Republican governor Charlie Baker. “We’re standing firm,” the governor said.

Acts of civil disobedience (or civic affirmation) like this will not stop Trump overnight—but days and months of similar niggling and annoying attacks by right-minded citizens and their representatives will eventually erode that blustering mystique. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Published by

Chuck Radda

I'm a former high school English teacher, currently a literacy volunteer and novelist. I invite your responses right here or to chuckradda@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter—where I tweet annually at @chuckrad45.

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